University of Nebraska Press

Latin American Women Writers

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Microfictions

Ana Maria Shua

Cinderella’s sisters surgically modify their feet to win the prince’s love. A werewolf gathers up enough courage to visit a dentist. A medium trying to reach the afterworld gets a recorded message. A fox and a badger compete to out-fool each other. Whether writing of insomnia from a mosquito’s point of view or showing us what happens after the princess kisses the frog, Ana María Shua, in these fleet and incandescent stories, is nothing if not pithy—except, of course, wildly entertaining. Some as short as a sentence, these microfictions have been selected and translated from four different books. Flashes of insight, cracks of wit, twists of logic, and quirks of language: these are fictions in the distinguished Argentinean tradition of Borges and Cortázar and Denevi, as powerful as they are brief.
 
One of Argentina’s most prolific and distinguished writers, and acclaimed worldwide, Shua displays in these microfictions the epitome of her humor, riddling logic, and mastery over our imagination. Now, for the first time in English, the fox transforms itself into a fable, and “the reader is invited to find the tail.”

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The Rainforest

Alicia Steimberg

From the Latin American Women Writers series

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“Labinger's melodic translation lyrically enhances Steimberg's potently symbolic portrait of a woman in transition.”—Booklist.

“From Argentine novelist Steimberg . . . comes a poetically written and beautifully translated perspective on personal happiness, solace, and mature love.” —Library Journal.

“In a novel as fragmented and verdant as memory itself, Argentine author Steimberg (Call Me Magdalena) creates a troubled Argentine writer, a widow in her late 50s who seeks comfort and recovery at a convalescent spa in the lush Brazilian rain forest. In scraps of tortured writing, dreams and unbidden recollections, Cecilia examines her relationships with three men: her deceased second husband, Dardo; Federico, the violent drug-addicted son she has cut out of her life; and Steve, a biologist from Los Angeles with whom she falls in love. . . . The question this reflective novel finally poses is whether Cecilia is strong enough to risk the possibility of a future with a man who is, ultimately, as imperfect and mortal as she is.”—Publishers Weekly.

For middle-aged Cecilia, the rainforest represents both solace and tenuously controlled danger, as she discovers when she follows the same path each day from her hotel at a Brazilian spa into the surrounding jungle. Although her daily forays are designed to help leave her painful past behind, Cecilia’s thoughts return to her deceased husband, her drug-addicted son, and her own place in the world. These thoughts are her only company until the present intrudes once more in the unlikely form of a fellow patient at the spa, a North American man who might represent a second chance.

In The Rainforest, the award-winning novelist Alicia Steimberg offers the reader new definitions of happiness and mature love—or perhaps simply the reassurance that in life, nothing is ever quite as terrible as one fears or quite as glorious as one remembers.

Alicia Steimberg was born in 1933 in Buenos Aires, the descendant of Eastern European Jewish immigrants to Argentina. She received an advanced education and training in English and has worked for many years as a professional translator. Her own literature has a clear autobiographical component, and she has earned a reputation as one of Argentina’s best contemporary writers. In 1992 she was awarded the prestigious Premio Planeta Biblioteca del Sur for her novel Cuando digo Magdalena, since translated into English and available in the Bison Books edition, Call Me Magdalena.

Andrea G. Labinger is a professor of Spanish and the director of the honors program at the University of La Verne in Southern California. Her many translations include Alicia Steimberg’s Call Me Magdalena and Carlos Cerda’s An Empty House, also available in a Bison Books edition.

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Violations

Stories of Love by Latin American Women

Psiche Hughes

Forbidden love was a forbidden topic. Decorum was everything—in society, where Catholicism dictated the terms, and in literature, where a code of decency governed writers and readers alike. To women were left the pale love stories that conducted appropriate partners in proper settings to socially acceptable outcomes. So it was in Latin America well into the twentieth century.

The stories in this volume announce a dramatic change, a transformation of the literature of love in Latin America, and of the role—even the nature—of women in this most “feminine” literary tradition. These stories, by exciting new writers as well as by the renowned, are “violations” of the most exhilarating sort, flouting conventions of language, behavior, subject matter, and style to remake and widen our once-narrow view of the literary landscape of Latin America. Here women writers from Mexico and Brazil, Colombia and Argentina, Cuba, Peru, and Uruguay break social, religious, political, and sexual barriers in fiction that is by turns erotic, satirical, shocking, tragic—and always, in its remapping of literary boundaries, deeply and richly entertaining.

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